/Tag: democracy

Appreciating Nehru


The Hindu

The most admired human being on the planet may be a one-time boxer named Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. To spend three decades in prison fighting racial oppression, and then guide and oversee the peaceful transition to a multi-racial democracy, surely ranks as the greatest personal achievement since the end of the Second World War. For the capaciousness [...]

Indians Great Greater Greatest?


The Hindu

I... Nations need heroes, but the construction of a national pantheon is rarely straightforward or uncontested. Consider the debate in the United States about which faces should adorn the national currency. The founding figures of American Independence—Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, Madison, and Franklin—are all represented on the dollar bill, albeit on different denominations. So are the 19th [...]

The Greatest Living Gandhian


The Telegraph

When Dr Manmohan Singh went to call on Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this week, I wonder whether the great Burmese lady recalled her first encounter with India and Indians. In the 1950s, as a young teenager, she moved to Delhi with her mother, who had been appointed Burma’s Ambassador to India. The years she spent [...]

Varieties of Censorship


The Telegraph

In about the year 1985, I was having dinner with two friends in Chungwa Restaurant, off Chittaranjan Avenue in central Kolkata. We had been undergraduates together in Delhi in the 1970s; now, a decade later, we were in our first jobs, I as an academic, the other two as journalists. We spoke, among other things, of [...]

States of the Nation


The Telegraph

General Elections are all-India affairs, with citizens in twenty-eight states taking part to elect a new Parliament. On the other hand, elections to Legislative Assemblies have a particular resonance for the citizens of the state, or states, going to the polls. Some state elections, however, are of national significance. The first such was the Kerala elections [...]

A PATRIARCH FOR THE NATION – DEBATE


The Telegraph

Debating Anna Hazare On the 27th of August, the Telegraph newspaper published an article on Anna Hazare by Ramachandra Guha under the title A PATRIARCH FOR THE NATION?. The article sparked a debate between the author and the social worker Lalit Uniyal. The debate is reproduced below, for several reasons. The dialogue is without artifice; it [...]

THIRTEEN WAYS TO CLEANSE THE SYSTEM


The Telegraph

In an article published fifty years ago, the great Indian democrat Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari deplored ‘the unconscionable and grievous expenditure on elections, which gives overwhelming advantage to money-power..’ Rajaji argued that ‘elections now are largely, so to say, private enterprise, whereas this is the one thing that should be first nationalized.’ Towards this end, he recommend that [...]

THREE COMPARISONS


The Telegraph

As the election results started coming in on Friday the 13th, and the spectacular rout of the Left Front in West Bengal became clear, my mind went back to the spring of 1977. I was a student of St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, too young to vote, but old enough to recognize the significance of the [...]

NEHRUVIAN INDIANS


The Telegraph

Some years ago, I coined the term ‘Nehruvian Indian’ to describe those who, in their professional and personal lives, ‘transcended the divisions of race and religion, caste and class, gender and geography.’ Viewed cynically, the term was a cloak and cover for my own confusions. Born in Dehradun of Tamil parents, with a Bengali name and [...]

THE REAL OFFENDERS


Hindustan Times

Narendra Modi may never have banned Joseph Lelyveld’s The Great Soul had the books editor of the Wall Street Journal been as discerning as his counterpart in the New York Times. The Manhattan dailies carried reviews on the same weekend, but these could not have been more different in style or substance. The Times reviewer, who [...]